I really like this quote, especially the second half. "One could say, in fact, that the first goal is for children to write bad persuasive letters - and to do so with with confidence, zeal, purpose, pleasure, and above all, independence." Like she said, this is true of any new writing unit, not just persuasive writing.
We writing teachers have permission to put pens into our writers' hands before they even know what they're doing, with the expectation that it won't be pretty. If the expectation is that their first attempts will be bad, then there shouldn't be any fear of jumping right into the midst of things. I believe we do a disservice to writers if we wait until we've taught all the finer points of a genre before letting them try or we give them artificial writing experiences with handouts or worksheets before they're allowed to write in context. Writers learn to write by writing, so the goal should be to get them writing from day one of any unit. We needn't fear for the kids' sakes. They don't know it's messy. We as teachers are the ones who fear the start of a unit and the bad pieces that will fill their writing folders for a few days. We must let go, and let them write.
I'll be starting my persuasive writing unit soon. I've no doubt that when I send them off to write after my first mini-lesson, the majority of them will write rather bad persuasive pieces, but they'll do it with confidence, zeal, purpose, pleasure, and independence. Goal accomplished!
I am thrilled this morning to send you off to visit some of my favorite blogs. Lori, Barb, Jenny, and Laurie are joining me today with their own Saturday Sayings. I know that you won't be disappointed when you take a few minutes to pay them a visit. Be prepared to love what you read!